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Learn Korean Ep. 12: Only


There are many ways to say only in Korean, and it all depends on the context. Which one you pick may depend on whether or not you want to use it as an adverb, or an adjective, etc. Pick and choose the ones you think youd like to use.

noun +
Attach directly after a noun. replaces any Topic Marker or Subject Marker that mightve originally gone there. . Only I speak Korean. . He likes only movies. can also follow verbs that have been changed into nouns (see Episode 10 on nominalization). . If you only go to class youll be able to graduate. means to graduate, and means a class (at school).

noun +
. The only thing I have left is time. is a shorter way to write . While can be used with verbs converted into nouns, cannot. In order to use this form with verbs, take the verb stem and add / ( if the verb stem ends in a vowel, and if it ends in a consonant).

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. I only pray. means to pray. Using this sentence could be written as .

noun +
This form is only used in negative constructions (see Episode 7 on negative sentences). The literal meaning of is outside, as in (outside the house). It also translates as other than or except. . I can only speak Korean. or I dont speak anything other than Korean. . Theres only that person or There isnt anybody except that person. Another common place to see is in the construction, to be unable to do anything but~ (The only thing one can do is~); this is made by taking the verb stem and adding / . . The test results havent come out yet, so the only thing I can do is wait. means results, and means to wait. . Now that Im in Korea theres nothing I can do but learn Korean.

noun + verb stem + /


This one is a combination of and , and means Its not only (noun), but~.

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. Its not only that, but this too. . Im not only an employee, but Im the president. means an employee (of a company), and means the president (of a company).

can translate as only, but another good translation is simply. . I only want to sleep. or I simply want to sleep.

can translate as only, but another good translation is merely. . Its only that Im small. or Its merely that Im small.

is often used in combination with or . . That is something that only you can do. is a short way of saying or writing . . All I have is only you.

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is used as an adjective, so its used to describe a noun as being only something. . The only (one) book in the world. means the world (literally, this world). means only one.

This verb means to be the only one, and can be used as either an adverb or an adjective. As an adverb, its , and as an adjective, its . Using it either way is fine. . The teacher is the only person who can speak Korean. . The teacher is the only person who can speak Korean.

verb stem + /
This one can translate as Im only~ or Im just~, and is most often used with descriptive verbs (adjectives). . Its just that Im jealous of his personality. . I just think putting ketchup on steak isnt that great.

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Conclusion
I know there are a lot of these, so dont stress about learning all of them. If you can only pick one to learn, learn , as it is the most versatile option. As for the rest of them, look at the examples and choose which ones you think you could find useful. I hope that youll be able to expand your Korean through this lesson.

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